Law Office Of William F. Underwood - April 2018

Justice MONTHLY

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APRIL 2018

A REAL-LIFE ATTORNEY IN A COURTROOM TV WORLD

A s a real-life attorney, I’ve spent a lot of time dispelling the precedents set by my TV-bound peers. From the treasured classic of “Matlock” to the breathlessly intense antics of “Law & Order,” Hollywood has always been determined to plumb the depths of the courtroom for drama. But while I’m not about to tell anybody that they shouldn’t enjoy the last-minute reveal of a surprise witness or the beauty of a dastardly witness put on the

Nicholson or Tom Cruise’s characters in “A Few Good Men” be allowed to scream back and forth during cross-examination, as entertaining as that scene may be. Luckily, most of the make-believe is left in the criminal courtrooms. Still, there are a couple of pervasive misconceptions I wish people understood going into the legal process. For

spot, such shows leave us real lawyers with a whole heap of misconceptions to overcome. Sure, I admire Atticus Finch as much as the next guy, but as anybody knows, the courtroom fireworks you see on TV are mostly just fantasy. When I was working as a prosecuting attorney for the Dougherty District Attorney, the myths perpetuated by criminal investigation shows got so bad that they became the theme of a respected conference. One year, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia held a continuing education event called “Combatting the CSI Effect,” and it was dedicated to putting a dose of reality back into the public and legal consciousness. In the wake of these shows, juries were getting unrealistic expectations of how cases

one, it’s impossible to receive additional compensation for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. In the Georgia system, you don’t have to prove your employer is actually at fault in order to receive the funds you need, but you’ll also never receive a big extra check to pay you back for suffering through the process. The other aspect many new clients don’t understand is how long it often takes to get to a hearing in a workers’ compensation case. The entire process can be extremely long and drawn out. Between insurance defense attorneys trying to delay, medical providers taking weeks to equip us with needed records, and a million other factors, it can take a lot of patience to persevere. Trust me, this bothers me as much as it does you. It doesn’t seem right that hurt workers should have to wait so long to receive the compensation they need. Rest assured, I will

should unfold. No, we were reminded, most cases won’t hinge on DNA analysis, either because of prohibitive costs or contaminated samples. Neither could we “enhance” a security camera’s feed and cross-index a perpetrator’s nose from a worldwide database. The problem back then was that every juror assumed it would come down to spit and fingerprints, and if we couldn’t provide them, they’d be overly skeptical. Of course, I could go on and on about the eye-rolling illusions that go hand in hand with these shows. Though they may get enough about the process right to make it seem halfway realistic, I’ll tell you that you can’t do most trials in 30 minutes. Nor would Jack

always do everything I possibly can to speed the process along, but there are some aspects that are fully out of my control.

If there’s one good thing these shows have done for us attorneys, it’s that they’ve made our lives look glamorous and exciting. After all, if people want to imagine me passionately yelling in the courtroom rather than spending hours combing through complex legal documents, that’s fine — but I’ll never be able to watch a courtroom drama without cracking up. -William F. “Trey” Underwood, III

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Engaging videos are the darling of modern marketing, and when companies do videos right, they can be hugely successful. But when they miss the mark, they might go viral for all the wrong reasons. Here are five lessons you can learn from the best business videos. Use a script. Even if the person in your video is the leading expert on the topic, you still need a plan for what they’re going to say. Lay out the facts, incorporate an interesting story, and keep it conversational. Scripts help you control the tone so the video isn’t one big information dump. Invest in quality equipment. Popular viral videos are often shot on a cellphone, but shaky footage and poor sound quality won’t help your company. You need to hire a professional to film your video, or at least use professional equipment. Bad lighting, background noise, and other amateur mistakes will dilute your message and guarantee audiences won’t respond to your video the way you want them to. Include the right music. Music is tricky. When it’s not there, the video feels uncomfortable. But choose the 5 Secrets of SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS VIDEOS When you don’t understand the fine print of workers’ compensation, it can cost you big. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about workers’ compensation. Insurance companies often muddle the facts and try to frustrate you. The more you know, the better prepared you can be when working with insurance companies after an injury. Here are three misconceptions to watch out for. Misconception: If your employer treats you with respect or “like family,” they’ll stick by you after an injury. Reality: Following an on-the-job injury, your claim will go to an insurance adjuster. It goes past your boss, your company’s HR department, and the business owner. Insurance adjusters don’t look at your situation “like family.” Their goal is to pay out as little as possible. There’s no respect or sympathy. Your employer may be by your side, but this means next to nothing when dealing with an insurance company. Misconception: Your injury and claim is 100 percent legitimate, so the insurance company will pay your wages and benefits without hesitation.

wrong music, and your video becomes unintentionally hilarious. As strange as it sounds, the best music is the kind your audience never notices. Fortunately, there’s plenty of royalty-free music that can fit with any budget and video atmosphere. Pick the right clothes. The clothing you wear in your video has more of an effect than you may realize. Sure, you get compliments on your striped blue shirt all the time, but that shirt will ruin your video. Stripes and patterns tend to move when they appear on camera, which can be distracting. Solid colors are the best option. Don’t drag on. If someone sends you an eight- minute video, how likely are you to watch it? Eric Guerin, executive producer at Adelie Studios, reports that 53 percent of people who watch business videos leave after one minute. Your videos should be under five minutes, with an ideal time frame of 2 1/2 minutes. Most companies make videos these days, so the competition is fierce. Remember these tips to give your next business video a boost so it stands out above the rest.

The Misconceptions of Workers’ Comp

3 MISTRUTHS TO BE AWARE OF

Reality: Despite evidence, insurance companies will likely not believe you. Adjusters work under the assumption that you are trying to take advantage of the situation. As a result, you may see lengthy delays in payments. They want you to give up and return to work, even if you are injured. That way, they no longer have to

continue the payments, late or not. Misconception: Because the benefits of workers’ compensation have been legally defined, your lawyer cannot get you more than what you are due.

Reality: While workers’ compensation has been legally defined, every situation is different. Insurance adjusters will throw their weight around and do everything they can to delay payments or pay out as little as possible. A lawyer can help you navigate these issues

and make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. Just as the adjuster can throw their weight around against you, your lawyer can do the same for you.

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WHEN THE LAW GETS WEIRD 2 Entertaining Workers’ Comp Claims

To most of us, the law is a labyrinthine puzzle that’s endlessly cryptic and utterly overwhelming . But what most people don’t realize is that even when it comes to workers’ compensation cases, the legal process can make for some strange and entertaining stories. For instance, all our clients should learn from the example of ex- postal worker Cathy Wrench Cashwell. In 2011, she filed a claim stating that she could no longer stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb, or lift her mail trays due to an on-the-job injury she had sustained way back in 2004. At first, it appeared that her claim would go off without a hitch. But then investigators discovered that she’d been on “The Price Is Right” and spun the famous big wheel twice on camera. In 2012, she was indicted for fraud, and she pleaded guilty almost immediately. At least Cashwell didn’t end up like the claimant in one 2011 Pennsylvania case. One day, when he and his fellow laborers were ostensibly working, they came upon a bowling ball near the work site. For a while, the crew held a shot-put contest to see who could throw the ball the farthest, but the situation quickly escalated, as these things often do. The challenge evolved into a competition to see who could smash the bowling ball with a sledgehammer, which the claimant accepted eagerly. On his first

strike, the ball cracked, and the supervisor advised him to “knock it off,” to no avail. With the next hit, the ball shattered, and a sharp piece blasted into the claimant’s eye. The workers’ compensation judge ruled that while irresponsible, the injury occurred within the scope and course of his employment. But the appellate court disagreed, arguing that the claimant had acted in direct violation of a work order from his superior. In the end, the claim was denied,

and we all learned an important lesson about safety.

Have a Laugh!

Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs

Ingredients •

• •

1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 pounds asparagus

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• •

2 teaspoons lemon zest Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)

• • •

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions 1. Heat oven to 425 F. Toss

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fold in parsley and lemon zest. 3. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with lemon juice, and top with breadcrumb mixture.

asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20–26 minutes, turning asparagus halfway through. 2. When asparagus is nearly done, heat remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine

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inside What TV Shows Get Wrong About Attorneys PAGE 1 Make Your Next Video Go Viral PAGE 2 3 Misconceptions About Workers’ Comp PAGE 2 ‘The Price Is Right’ and a Busted Bowling Ball PAGE 3 Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs PAGE 3 April Fools’ Pranks From the Pre-Internet Age PAGE 4

3 APRIL FOOLS’ PRANKS F ROM E A R L I E R , MOR E T R U S T I NG T I ME S

April Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s pretty hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. Back when you couldn’t debunk a hoax with a simple Snopes search, things were a little more interesting. Here are a few of the most hilarious — yet somehow convincing — April Fools’ pranks in history. NIXON FOR PRESIDENT, 1992 When NPR’s popular “Talk of the Nation” program announced in 1992 that former President Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, listeners were shocked. Never mind that he’d been the center of the largest presidential scam in history, but his campaign slogan, “I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again,” left something to be desired. NPR even brought political experts on the show to discuss the ramifications of such a move, and listeners flooded the station with outraged calls — until host John Hockenberry revealed that the on-air Nixon was actually comedian Rich Little. SWISS SPAGHETTI GROWERS ENJOY RECORD HARVEST Ah, to be as naive as we were during the early days of television. In 1957, a BBC news show called “Panorama” conducted

a special report on a massive spaghetti harvest in Ticino, Switzerland, following a remarkably mild

winter. The black and white images showed farmers pulling huge strands of noodles off tall trees and prompted hundreds of viewers to call into the station and ask how they might procure their own spaghetti tree. THOMAS EDISON’S AMAZING FOOD MACHINE When Edison was in his prime, Americans truly believed he could create anything — even a machine that transformed air, water, and dirt into biscuits, vegetables, meat, and wine, as reported by the New York Daily Graphic in 1878. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the country. Thousands of people bought the trick. When Buffalo’s Commercial Advertiser ran an editorial on Edison’s genius in the endeavor, the Graphic reprinted it in full, along with the headline, “They Bite!”

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